Intuitive Acquires Orpheus Medical to Expand Informatics Platform for Hospitals

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Intuitive (Nasdaq: ISRG), a global technology leader in minimally invasive care and the pioneer of robotic–assisted surgery, announced it has acquired privately held Orpheus Medical to deepen and expand its integrated informatics platform.

Orpheus Medical provides hospitals with information technology connectivity, as well as expertise in processing and archiving surgical video.

"The addition of Orpheus will provide customers ""including surgeons, patient care teams and hospitals""with ready access to and a deeper understanding of their data, which we believe may help our customers improve patient outcomes and lower total treatment costs," said Julian Nikolchev, Intuitive's senior vice president of corporate development and strategy.

Orpheus develops and distributes its clinical video management and analytics platform, which hospitals use across surgical disciplines. The platform offers the ability to capture and share clinical video and imaging from many sources, which may help improve physician and OR care team workflow and enable analysis of their interventions.

"Combining both companies' innovative technologies with Intuitive's global reach and resources will enable current and future customers easier and faster access to their data," said Gaddi Menahem, CEO of Orpheus Medical.

Orpheus will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Intuitive. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

About Intuitive
Intuitive (Nasdaq: ISRG), headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a global technology leader in minimally invasive care and the pioneer of robotic–assisted surgery. At Intuitive, we believe that minimally invasive care is life–enhancing care. Through ingenuity and intelligent technology, we expand the potential of physicians to heal without constraints.

Intuitive brings more than two decades of leadership in robotic–assisted surgical technology and solutions to its offerings, and develops, manufactures and markets the da Vinci surgical system and the Ion endoluminal system.

About the da Vinci Surgical System
There are several models of the da Vinci surgical system. The da Vinci surgical systems are designed to help surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery. Da Vinci systems offer surgeons high–definition 3D vision, a magnified view, and robotic and computer assistance. They use specialized instrumentation, including a miniaturized surgical camera and wristed instruments (i.e., scissors, scalpels and forceps) that are designed to help with precise dissection and reconstruction deep inside the body.

For more information, please visit the company's website at www.intuitive.com.

Forward–Looking Statement

This press release contains forward–looking statements, including statements regarding the company's acquisition of Orpheus Medical. These forward–looking statements are necessarily estimates reflecting the best judgment of the company's management and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward–looking statements. These forward–looking statements should, therefore, be considered in light of various important factors, including, but not limited to, the following: the risk that Orpheus Medical cannot successfully expand its customer base or grow revenue after closing, risks associated with integrating a newly acquired business outside of the United States, diversion of management and other resources in supporting the newly acquired business, and other risk factors under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's report on Form 10–K for the year ended December 31, 2018, as updated by the Company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements using words such as "estimates," "projects," "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "intends," "may," "will," "could," "should," "would," "targeted," and similar words and expressions are intended to identify forward–looking statements. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward–looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or release any revisions to these forward–looking statements, except as required by law.

Contact
Global Public Affairs
Intuitive Surgical
corp.comm@intusurg.com
+1–408–523–7337

Source: Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

PN# 1069571–RevA–US–February2020

Coronavirus: A Flashback to Biological Warfare of a Bygone Era

Credit: United Nations

By Ameen Izzadeen
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Feb 10 2020 – In the wake of the latest coronavirus outbreak, movie buffs are drawing an eerie parallel with the film Contagion, a 2011 thriller based on a lethal airborne virus called Nipah and how the world’s medical community battled to find a cure for the pandemic.

The movie, which is much in demand on streaming sites, attributes the origin of the virus to a bat.

Another movie that comes to mind is “Cassandra Crossing”. This 1976 thriller casts Richard Harris and Sophia Lauren in the lead roles. The story begins with an abortive attempt by three terrorists to bomb the US mission at a global health organisation in Geneva. In violation of international conventions, the US has developed viruses and stored them in containers in the mission.

Security officers kill a terrorist and wound another. One escapes but not before he knocks over a container and is splashed with its harmful content. He stows away in a train taking nearly a thousand passengers to different European capitals.

The American military officer in charge of the secret biological weapon programme knows the customized virus is virulent, airborne and contagion. There is no cure. He rebuffs advice that the train is stopped, the terrorist arrested and quarantined.

He fears that most of the passengers have, by now, been affected by the virus. He insists that the train be rerouted to a disused railway line that goes to a former Nazi concentration camp in Poland so that the passengers could be quarantined there.

But the train has to cross the dangerously unsound Cassandra Bridge. It is a deliberate attempt to prevent a pandemic by killing all the passengers, regardless of whether they are affected or not.

Biological weapons. Credit: United Nations

As the coronavirus continues to spread, China would not take such inhuman measures and eliminate the entire population in the city of Wuhan, though it is accused of taking horrific measures to eradicate what it sees as a social virus in its Xinjiang province where millions of Uighur Muslims are alleged to have been kept under social quarantine until they disown their religious and cultural identities which the Chinese authorities see as symptoms of major social epidemic that poses an existential threat to China.

The movie “Cassandra Crossing” is fiction, but, in reality, countries do develop biological weapons –germs, viruses and fungi targeting humans, livestock and crops.

This is not to imply that the latest coronavirus outbreak is a biological weapon test going wrong at a Wuhan laboratory — or an enemy nation has released a deadly virus in a highly populated Chinese town with the aim of sabotaging China’s global ambitions.

But the truth is biological warfare – or germ warfare — has been part of war for millennia.

History records that as far back as 400 B.C. armies had poisoned enemy wells and used poisoned arrows. History also records that in the 18th century America, the British colonialists gave small pox infected blankets to Native Americans with the intention of killing them in an epidemic.

Then, during World War I, Germany developed anthrax, glanders, cholera and a wheat fungus and allegedly spread plague in St. Petersburg in Russia.

After the end of World War I, nations agreed on the Geneva Protocol to curtail biological weapons. Yet, during World War II, Germany, Japan, Britain and the US disregarded the protocol and developed plague, syphilis and paralysis-causing botulinum toxin.

It took 22 years after the end of World War II for the so-called civilised world to acknowledge the evil of biological weapons that fall into the category of weapons of mass destruction, along with chemical weapons and nuclear weapons.

Some 179 states have ratified the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. It requires the parties to give an undertaking that they will “never in any circumstances develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain” biological weapons.

But the convention allows nations to conduct ‘defensive’ research so that they will be prepared to face or survive an attack or a virus outbreak. In other words, they are allowed to make a virus to kill a virus.

Laboratories in Australia, Hong Kong and Europe say they have cultured the coronavirus — 2019-nCoV in a race to develop a medicine as the death toll from the outbreak reached over 800 in China alone, as of February 9, while the number of cases stood at more than 28,000 in China — mainly in the Hubei Province — and nearly 200 elsewhere.

However, it is believed that some countries also develop offensive biological weapons and chemical weapons. There is little distinction between the chemical and biological weapons from a definitional aspect.

For instance, Agent Orange the United States used during the Vietnam War may be a chemical weapon, but the harm it caused was no different from that of a biological weapon. Similarly, the use of depleted uranium by the US in Iraq also falls into the grey area between chemical and biological warfare.

During the Bosnian war, the Serbs used shells containing the Cold War-era nerve agent benzilate in the bombing of Srebrenica, and in the ongoing Syrian conflict, the government forces are accused of using similar weapons.

The US is not the only big power which stands accused of using banned weapons. Take Russia. Despite its accession to the 1972 BWC and the 1993 Chemical Weapon Convention, it drew worldwide condemnation for the killing of a dissident Russian spy in 2006, by using a highly radioactive polonium-210 poison and a similar attack in 2018 on another dissident spy and his daughter.

The possibility of terrorists using portable biological weapons topped the international agenda after more than a dozen people were killed in the Sarin nerve gas attack carried out by the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo in three Tokyo subway stations in 1995.

Adding to the concerns is the anthrax scare that hit the US days after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to media offices and politicians.

Five people died and 17 were infected in the bioterrorism attack that continued for weeks. Suspicion fell on two bioweapon experts. One was cleared; the other committed suicide before he was formally charged.

All this indicates the ineffectiveness of the BWC, a gentlemen’s agreement which largely requires the parties to submit only annual reports of compliance. The convention lacks a formal investigation mechanism to deal with violations.

And what better time than now to reinforce the convention when the world is gripped by the coronavirus threat?

*Ameen Izzadeen is Editor International and Deputy Editor, Sri Lanka Sunday Times